Why I Give to MEDA: Major Donor Leagrey Dimond

Photo: Philanthropist Leagrey Dimond (center) with her beloved godchildren, Josgard and David.

MEDA’s mission of building equity through Latino wealth, place and power would not be possible without our many generous donors since our start in 1973. Such financial support often comes from individuals: Whether they are major, mid-level or grassroots donors, we could never do our work without each and every one of you.

From time to time, MEDA’s Philanthropic Engagement Manager Lucy Porras will interview our donors to find out why they chose to give to MEDA — and to showcase the impact their dollars have seen.

The following donor profile is of one of our major donors, Leagrey Dimond. 

LP: How and why did you enter the world of philanthropy?
LD: Before I became a small-business owner in my late 30s, I never had much money to spare. My bookstore, which I ran for decades, became a success and enabled me to think of ways to give back. It seemed natural to me to take some of my profits and put them back into the world. I started by putting aside $3,000 a month and sending out small checks to organizations aligned with my values. The truth is that this made me feel like a million dollars. In January 2020, I received an inheritance, and this found money now enables me to give back all the more.

LP: There are many nonprofits to which you could earmark your philanthropic dollars. Why did you choose to donate to MEDA in San Francisco’s Mission District? How do your values and principles align with our organization?
LD: I always do my homework before donating to any organization. My research showed me that MEDA is getting things done — actively making a difference and doing the necessary work. This is especially needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. So many Latino and immigrant families have lost their jobs or had their small businesses shuttered … they are scared to death about paying their rent. They are experiencing food insecurity. Those who are still employed are the backbone of our economy and are mostly working out in the public, so they have been disproportionately falling ill with the disease and then living with the fear of possibly infecting their families because of overcrowded conditions at home. We need equity in this terrible time, and I know that is the lens through which MEDA sees its impactful work.

LP: You said you did your research. How did you learn about MEDA?
LD: I was looking to give to organizations helping undocumented workers and Latino families during the current COVID-19 crisis. I came across a San Francisco Chronicle article on the Mission District’s Latino Task Force, of which MEDA is part. This article resonated with me, showcasing the need in that community and the work being done to address systemic issues. After visiting medasf.org to learn more and seeing how MEDA helps with income, housing and small businesses, I knew my dollars would be well spent. MEDA’s impact was very clear. 

LP: Can you tell us a bit more about the recent donation you made to MEDA and how that act of giving made you feel? Did the COVID-19 crisis factor into your decision to give?
LD: This is my happiness: It is actually keeping me sane in the current political climate. It means everything to me to be able to be of use at this time, when so many hardworking people who are just trying to build a better life for themselves and their children are in so much trouble.

LP: How does MEDA’s work reflect the change that you wish to see in the world, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has most adversely impacted the low-income Latino immigrant and undocumented community in San Francisco’s Mission District?
LD:  Undocumented workers and Latinos have been under assault for the last three-and-a-half years. We’ve gone from hate-filled rhetoric to actually separating families and putting children in cages. Shameful. We are a nation of immigrants. It is our strength. All people must have the chance in their search for a new life. We need to do everything we can to protect these communities and stand by them. That means supporting programs and initiatives such as those offered by MEDA. My hope is to see these very community members emerge from this crisis and be able to thrive. 

LP: What would you tell other philanthropists in the community who are on the fence about making a financial contribution during this COVID-19 crisis?
LD: I would say to them, “How can you hesitate?” The shutdown has been overwhelming. We can only do the best we can every single day. But you can’t wait for another time to help people. If you’re in the position to help people the time was yesterday. Business after business has shuttered. So many jobs have been lost. People are terrified. Look at your children and imagine that you can’t — through no fault of your own — pay rent. That you cannot promise them shelter. This is the truth: If you have the ability to help at this time, you must do so. The scale of the problems is huge, but let’s all work together to start chipping away. If you can only donate $50, do so. $500 — do so. $5,000 — do so. Money needs to be put out into the world, and there’s so much money in this city.  Most of us have much more than we need. Put your money out into the world. Please. 


Are you looking to become part of MEDA’s community of individual donors? Please donate here.

Questions on how to optimize your donations to MEDA? Or general questions?
Contact Lucy: lporras@medasf.org.

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